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Alabama & Georgia Highlights

Nestled in the centre of the Deep South region along with neighbours Georgia, Tennessee, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida, 'Sweet Home Alabama' is an extremely diverse state rich in history, culture and scenery. A land of cotton and antebellum mansions, Civil War Battlefields and Civil Rights conflicts, Oak trees draped in Spanish moss and bayous brimming with crawfish; sun-drenched beaches, virgin forests and the mountains of the Appalachia. From the lush green forests and mountains in the north to the almost untouched beaches on the Gulf Coast, it epitomises the easy going, laid back way of life long associated with the Deep South.

Discover Alabama's State Capital Montgomery, where the Civil Rights Movement gathered pace under the leadership of Dr Martin Luther King and follow the history of this movement in key museums and landmarks around the state, also most notably in Selma and Birmingham. Montgomery was also the first Confederate Capital and was where the first shot was ordered on Union troops thus starting the Civil War conflict.

Enjoy the awe-inspiring scenery of lakes, mountains, canyons and caves offering a diverse range of outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, horse-riding and fishing. Meantime the very southern tip of the State is best known for Mobile Bay and the Gulf Coast beaches, as well as it's fresh, delicious seafood and a diverse array of bars, restaurants and live music venues.

Alabama also has much musical heritage and is the birthplace and influence of some of the region and country's true greats such as WC Handy, Nat King Cole and Hank Williams.

The 'Peach State' as Georgia is affectionately known, has everything and more that a visitor is looking for in a holiday to the USA. There is high class shopping, dining, entertainment and the arts in the Atlanta Metro region, unspoilt beaches and water sports along the Atlantic Ocean, and classic touring in colonial Savannah and Georgia's historic South. Add to this Georgia's beautiful mountains and rivers, which open up a whole range of outdoor pursuits and historic trails, and you begin to understand why the state is known as the 'Gateway to the South'. It's many state parks offer championship golf, hiking, biking, canoeing and white water rafting, as well as a host of routes that link interests from Civil War battlefields to bird watching. Georgia is also home to film classics such as Gone with the wind, Fried Green Tomatoes, and music legends like Otis Redding, Ray Charles and REM.

Being the largest US state east of the Mississippi, yet from its north to south borders it is only 315 miles long, which means everything is within relatively easy driving distance. With beautiful town squares, Antebellum homes, mountains in the North, lovely Savannah and the Golden Isles on the coast, you are guaranteed to find Southern charm throughout the area.

With so much to offer we thought it was time to devote a whole fly drive tour to these two fabulous southern states and once you've been you will know exactly why!

Itinerary

1

Atlanta

Arrive into Atlanta and after collecting your hire car transfer to hotel.

Atlanta has been dubbed everything from the "capital of the new South" to "the next international city", and is a great place to stay for several days before you eventually move on to discover the other delights of Georgia and neighbouring Alabama.

If you're not too tired this evening there's a chance to sample some of the cultural attractions as well as many fantastic bars and world class restaurants that this cosmopolitan city is now famous for.

 Begin your day early today as there's so much to see and do in this vibrant & exciting city.
Home to the 1996 Olympic Games and world class attractions such as the World's largest Aquarium, The World of Coca Cola Museum, and the CNN Headquarters and Studio to name a few, Atlanta is a modern city that also still manages to retain it's historic character.

Visit the Atlanta History Center or the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site, a moving tribute to an American icon. Also don't miss the former home of Margaret Mitchell – author of 'Gone With The Wind' or The Jimmy Carter Library and Museum for details on the life and times of the former president and his family.

Make sure you leave time for some shopping too as Atlanta won't disappoint any fans of a little retail therapy!

3

Savannah

248 miles

Today your journey south on I-75 will firstly take you through the pretty town of Macon.
Just 80 miles from Atlanta before you head further east towards the Atlantic Coast of Georgia and beautiful Savannah.

Once a major cotton port , and the highest navigable point on the Ocmuglee River, Macon was also home to music greats such a Little Richard, Otis Redding and The Allman Brothers.

Spend the day discovering the local music heritage at The Georgia Music Hall of Fame and explore the Hay House – an Italian Renaissance villa open to the public, as well as The Rose Hill Cemetery. Every year in the third week of March, Macon is home to a festival that celebrates its 280,000 plus cherry trees erupting into blossom.

With 21 shady garden squares and attractive old eighteenth and nineteenth century shuttered houses of many different styles, the historic district of Savannah is a joy to discover on foot. Put on your walking shoes and discover quaint streets lined with Regency and Antebellum homes, complete with lush Subtropical greenery adorning their ornate railings and intricate iron balconies. The air is filled with the lovely scent of Azaleas and Magnolias that fill the historic squares throughout the district, so take time to sit and enjoy some of them especially on a hot southern day.

Wander around the interesting cobbled waterfront edged by old cotton warehouses and
Visit The Savannah History Museum or The Telfair Museum of Arts – the south's oldest art museum. Later sit back and enjoy a trolley tour or a relaxing River Boat Cruise.

For an evening with a difference, either before or after dinner why not go on one of Savannah's Ghost Tours and learn about the town's dark side!

5

Jekyll Island

79 miles

From Savannah, your drive today will take you further south towards Brunswick and
Georgia's southern offshore sea islands. Before you reach Jekyll Island first make a quick stop at the shrimp docks in Brunswick as you may be lucky and see a catch being brought in.

Jekyll Island was originally bought in 1887 as an exclusive club by a group of millionaire
Families such as the Rockefellers, the Macys and the Vanderbilts. Whilst today some of the mansions are far from their former glory, you can still see some of America's most famous and wealthy families once opulent and extravagant residences.

Enjoy a relaxing day on uncrowded Jekyll Island, home to many quiet sandy beaches or alternatively explore other nearby Golden Isles such as St Simon's and Cumberland Island.

Jekyll Island also offers plenty to do include the usual fun beach pastimes such as crabbing, net fishing, and shell collecting. Rent a bike, go horse back riding or alternatively one of the little "Red Bugs", motorized carts, which resemble golf buggies! Families will love the great water park and mini golf whilst real golfers can take advantage of a couple of inexpensive rounds on some of the great golf courses on the Island.

The Jekyll Island Museum Centre offers an interesting insight into the island's history and hourly guided tours by horse and carriage or tram are available of the towns famous mansions.

Nature lovers will enjoy a visit to the local Turtle centre and hospital for turtles.

7

Tallahassee

231 miles

Leaving behind southern Georgia your journey will take you over the Florida state line and on to Tallahassee, the friendly state Capital with a provincial feel to it where you will stay for 1 night. If you arrive early enough take time to explore some of the towns historic buildings and museums that still evoke a strong sense of the past in a place that was once a high society gathering place and administrative centre for wealthy plantation owners lured south by fertile land.

Tallahassee has many cafes and restaurants too so you may be a little spoilt for choice tonight as to where to eat.

8

Gulf Shores

234 miles

Make an early start after breakfast to continue your drive west through northern Florida's
'Panhandle' into Alabama. You can either take I-10 which is undoubtedly the quickest route or alternatively the longer and generally more interesting coastal route via Wakulka Springs State Park, just fifteen miles south of Tallahassee. Here you can stop to see what is believed to be the biggest and deepest natural spring in the world before continuing on through parts of The Apalachicola National Forest you will encounter a wild landscape dotted with springs, savannahs and swamps. Finally in the far western corner of Florida, neighbouring Alabama is the city of Pensacola that boasts a rich history dating back from the Spanish occupation, as well as a fine naval aviation school and some busy dockyards. There are some good museums here that are worth checking out if you fancy a stop, namely The Pensacola Village and the Museum of Naval Aviation.

Just across the bay are the coastal towns of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach where 32 miles of sugary white sands await you as well the best outlet shopping in the state and a fantastic array of bars and restaurants, such as 'Florabama', the famous roadhouse beach bar right on the Alabama/Florida State line.

Visit Alabama and you will find a state with it's roots deep in music and one that has played a central role in the development of Blues and Country music worldwide. Therefore, music fans won't want to miss a visit to The Pink Pony Pub and The Hangout – two great bars located right on the beach at Gulf Shores, where they are likely to find local bands playing most nights.

If all that doing nothing doesn't appeal then you will find plenty of other activities to fill your day such as a scenic cruises, or a dolphin-watching excursion. Gulf Shores is a perfect destination for people of all ages, especially families who will delight at the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo and the local family recreation centre, complete with bumper boats!

10

Mobile

48 miles

Make a leisurely start from your hotel in Gulf Shores this morning as you only have a short distance to go. Just north of Gulf Shores it's worth making a stop at lovely Fairhope – known as one of the 'most romantic coastal towns in America'. Stop at Point Clear and see The Grand Hotel Marriott Point Clear Resort & Spa. This historic Alabama beach resort is rich with a daily tradition of high tea with a military canon salute! Less than 50 miles north, the relatively sleepy port of Mobile is a pretty one, with streets that are transformed every spring by the colour and sweet scent of an abundance of dogwoods, camellias and other flowers.

Pronounced 'Mobeel', Mobile survived the torches of the Union Army during the Civil War and more recently Hurricane Katrina, both of which failed to leave any lasting damage to this city that also boasts a large amount of attractive antebellum homes in several historic districts.

Home to the original Mardi Gras since 1703, this colourful festival is still celebrated every year in Mobile two weeks before Lent. The Carnival Museum tells a fascinating story of the festival and it's history.

With plenty of time still to explore, set about discovering 'Fort Conde' – a fascinating reconstruction of the city's 1724 French Fort, built to mark the nations bicentennial in 1976. Also take a tour of the nearby WWII battleship The USS Alabama and visit the not to be missed Museum of Mobile.

Mobile also offers various half and full day boat rips and cruises that will have you on the open water , from where you can take enjoy the different varieties of wild life that are to be found in the area. Hundreds of species of birds, fish, alligators and even the occasional bear and bald eagle can be seen in these waters so make sure you take a camera!

For a slightly quieter day Garden enthusiasts will undoubtedly enjoy the colourful 65 acre Bellingrath Gardens, that boast a quarter of a million azaleas situated just 20 miles south of the city.

Finally, not forgetting after the sun has gone down – like most of Alabama's bigger towns Mobile has a fantastic music scene with the city's 'Lo Da' Entertainment District offering over 20 different establishments with live music on different nights of the week.

12

Monroeville

89 miles

Another short drive today will take you north east away from the coast and further into the heart of sleepy southern Alabama. En route to Montgomery you will go via the small town of Monroeville – also home to Harper Lee, the Pulitzer prize winning author of 'To Kill a Mockingbird. Arrive in time to visit The Old Courthouse Museum located in Monroeville Town Square, housing several interesting exhibits.

13

Montgomery

107 miles

With a population of 200,000 the State capital of Alabama is both impressive and rich in history . Discover where the Civil Rights Movement gathered pace under the leadership of Dr Martin Luther King and follow the history of this movement in key museums and landmarks in the area, such as The Rosa Parks Museum and The Civil Rights Memorial. Montgomery was also the first Confederate Capital and was where the first shot was ordered on Union troops thus starting the Civil War conflict.

Take a tour of the State capitol where a bronze star marks the spot where Jefferson Davis was sworn in as president of the confederacy in 1861.

Famous for classic hits such as 'Hey Good Lookin' and Cold Cold Heart, when 29 year old Country Music Pioneer Hank Williams died suddenly of a heart attack in 1954, Montgomery was almost overwhelmed with mourners attending the funeral of one of Alabama's most
Famous native residents.. Today he is suitably remembered in a Memorial that dominates the Oakwood Cemetery Annex near to downtown, as well as at The Hank Williams Museum on commerce Street. Here they still house the blue 1952 Cadillac in which he made his final journey.

Montgomery also offers music lovers and night owls alike some great venues to visit –
1048 Jazz and Blues, Montgomery Brew Pub and The Olive Room among them.

15

Atlanta/Home

161 miles

Leaving behind the state of Sweet Home Alabama, your final drive will take you back over the border of Georgia towards the metropolis of Atlanta where your incredible journey began. Drop off your hire car at the airport before you board your overnight flight home.

What's included?

  • Return flights from London (please ask about other departure airports)
  • 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
  • Fully insured compact car hire for 2 drivers
  • A travel pack containing a day by day itinerary, driving instructions, maps, and suggested excursions

How to book

Daily Departures Year Round

Our low season standard hotel price starts from £1189.00 per person based on 2 sharing a room (Supplements or reductions for other room types available on request).

We can offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types including superior hotels and small inns.

Please call us on (01892) 779900 or email info@awwt.co.uk stating your travel dates and preferred standard of accommodation for a detailed and competitively priced quotation.